Get ready to wow the family with this one-pan chicken and chorizo paella recipe that brings Spain to the table.
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Heat half the oil in a large deep frying pan over high heat. Cook the chicken for 4 mins each side or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil.
Heat the remaining oil in the pan. Add the onion and chorizo and cook, stirring, for 3 mins or until onion softens. Add the garlic and rice and cook, stirring, for 2 mins or until the rice is slightly toasted.
Add the capsicum, tomato and peas and stir to combine. Add the saffron and paprika and cook, stirring, for 1 min or until aromatic. Pour in the stock. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, without stirring, for 20 mins or until the rice is just tender.
Arrange chicken over the rice and cook for a further 10 mins or until the liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle paella with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
Rice is a kitchen staple, but if you’re looking for new and exciting ways to serve it to your family, try this classic Spanish dish. Paella originated in the coastal city of Valencia where rice has been grown for more than a thousand years. It’s actually named after the shallow pan the field workers would use over an open fire to cook some of the rice they grew with whatever vegetables and meat – often rabbit and snails – they had to hand.
These days, most people who’ve eaten paella (pronounced pah-ei-ya) would associate it with seafood, like whole prawns, pieces of squid and just-opened mussels and clams. For this budget-friendly paella recipe, chicken and chorizo are used to create a rich, deep flavour in seemingly no time at all.
Like more traditional recipes for paella, this one uses spices like saffron and paprika to create the much-loved flavour and colour of the dish. Where time is saved is in bypassing the creation of another ingredient called sofrito. This traditional Spanish tomato sauce is a slow-cooked combination of tomatoes, onion, garlic and capsicum, all of which are used in this recipe for paella with chorizo and chicken, but are added during the cooking of the rice.
The traditional sofrito ingredients are always the base for any paella recipe – chicken and chorizo are the ingredients you can sub out for whatever proteins you have to hand. We’ve used them here not only because most people love them but also because they’re easy to find in the supermarket and are ready to be cut up, tossed in the pan and cooked.
Although paella is named after the pan in which it was traditionally created, you don’t need to buy one to get started cooking. A large, deep frying pan or cast-iron skillet is perfect for the task, although you can also use a pot, as long as it has a large base.
The key to tasty paella is getting the rice cooked absolutely perfectly. It needs to be what the Spanish call alpunto, which has almost the same meaning as al dente in Italian – cooked but still slightly firm to the tooth. In other words, when you are cooking paella you don’t want to overcook the rice, so that it’s creamy or, especially, mushy. In the end, the texture of the rice should be more like pilaf than risotto.
The most authentic paellas also feature socarrat, that crispy layer of caramelised rice at the bottom of the pan that forms because, throughout the cooking of the rice, you don’t stir it. It’s most easily achieved if you’re cooking the paella over a gas flame (don’t worry if you don’t get it, because this dish is still really tasty).
Socarrat is toasty and delicious, and some people achieve it by slightly turning up the heat on the pan for the final couple of minutes of cooking. (When it starts to form you’ll hear a subtle crackle coming from the pan.) Be careful not to overdo it though because burning it will send that flavour through the whole dish.
Once the paella is finished cooking, sprinkle the torn parsley right over the top. Of course, you can dish it up onto individual plates to serve, but placing the whole pan at the centre of the table and letting everyone help themselves turns this one-dish meal into a real occasion.
Make sure you’ve got a bowl of lemon wedges ready for everyone to squeeze over the top of your chicken and chorizo paella – it cuts through the richness of the chorizo and gives the whole dish a zesty bite.
This chicken and chorizo paella is a great any-time recipe – fast enough for a weekday dinner (plus there’s only one frying pan to wash) but impressive enough to serve up to friends for Sunday lunch. Want to try some other Spanish-inspired favourites? Try this potato tortilla with chorizo or Curtis Stone’s patata bravas salad. If the family loves rice dishes, you might also want to try Luke Mangan’s chicken and sweetcorn risotto with parmesan or easy tuna spiced rice.